What’s New in Dynamics CRM 2011 R7? What’s New’s What’s New!


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I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: gotta love the cloud, where important new features just kind of … show up, from time to time. Today, for example, I just got that pleasant surprise tip-of-the-iceberg feeling after provisioning a brand new 30-day free trial of Dynamics CRM. After my ritual changing of the default time zone from Reykjavik to US Central Time, the first thing I noticed was the What’s New link at the top of the Workplace:

So of course I clicked it, and here’s what I saw:

For some background on this important new feature, read this article.

Next, I navigated to the opportunities data grid, clicked the Charts tab and clicked New Chart:

Notice the new Top/Bottom Rules section. Next I checked the Chart Designer and saw this:

It might not look like much, but notice the Add a series button. Sweet: multiple series charts. For a discussion of the chart designer improvements in R7, read this article.

Finally, I created a new Lead Conversion dialog, added a Page, and then a Prompt and Response. Checked the Response Type drop-down menu, and saw the eagerly awaited Date and Time, Date Only, and Lookup types:

I wrote a little on the importance of that feature in this article.

This is going to be fun!

The announced release date of the “R7? upgrade was October 25, so I was happy to see that the testing and provisioning processes have proceeded ahead of schedule! But you might wonder about support issues for production CRM Online applications. For example, if you support a couple hundred users and new features just get dropped on them…you might expect a few questions, right?

On balance, however, I think the way the Dynamics team rolls out these new features is about right. For example, all of the discussion above was about a brand-new CRM organization. In a newly provisioned CRM Online organization, since all users are new, and by definition new to all features, you’re not likely to get questions specific to new features in a service update.

How does it work for existing CRM Online organizations? I just checked a few that I’m in, and here’s what I saw:

  • The enhancements to the Chart Designer ARE now rolled out.
  • The new data types ARE added for the Dialog Process response types.
  • The What’s New button does NOT appear at the top of the Workplace, and the Activity Feeds links are not available yet in System Settings.

From a support standpoint, this is the way to do it: the features that are either behind the scenes, or only likely to be experienced by power-users or administrators, are the ones that kind of … just happen. The features that are more front-and-center, and likely to be experienced by (and confuse) the larger user community, are the features an administrator wants to manage, and these are the ones that don’t get dropped on your users. I’m not sure how Activity Feeds will be “throttled”, but they are going to be an important feature, so if I were you I’d start learning about them so I could explain them to my users!

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Richard Knudson
Richard Knudson is a Dynamics CRM consultant and instructor, and has a special interest in cloud computing and helping organizations realize the potential of social CRM. His company, IMG, specializes in helping businesses implement and customize the Dynamics CRM platform.


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